Friday, March 16, 2007

A Lulu Look At Branding and Mad Translations of FireFly

When Coca-Cola first entered the Chinese market in 1928, they had no official representation of their name in Mandarin. While Coca-Cola was searching for a satisfactory combination of symbols to represent their name, Chinese shopkeepers created signs that combined characters whose pronunciations formed the string "ko-ka-ko-la," but they did so with no regard for the meanings of the written phrases they formed in doing so. The character for wax, pronounced "la," was used in many of these signs, resulting in strings that sounded like "ko-ka-ko-la" when pronounced but conveyed nonsensical meanings such as "female horse fastened with wax," "wax-flattened mare," or "bite the wax tadpole" when read.

Now, how many people do you know would like to order a

"female horse fastened with wax,"
"wax-flattened mare," or
"bite the wax tadpole"

to drink?

Fortunately, the wise men of old in Coca-Cola sat together and came up with what we know today as 可口可樂, which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."
sourece : Urban Legends

Two days ago, MAS announced it would launch a new, small airline based in the northern resort island of Penang that would begin service to two Thai resort destinations from April.
To be named Firefly, the airline will use two Fokker 50 planes to fly daily from Penang to Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and to the Malaysian destinations of Kota Baru, Langkawi, Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu, the airline said.

Earlier, the name was rumoured to be Asmara Air, which brings a romantic rendezvous [to put it politely] connotation. Now Firefly?

hmm... they have to thread carefully on the Bahasa translation. Makulumla, if people want to protest that AirAsia's uniform does not reflect the Malaysia culture, Lulu's sure that those like-minded folks will insist on a Bahasa name for Firefly.

Kelip-kelip. Doesn't sound good, just in case it kelip-kelip on the radar screen, like those you see on TV, then tiba-tiba tak kelip lagi
or direct translation, Api Terbang... no.... api is one of those things you don't want to associate with an aeroplane.
another direct translation. Tembak Lalat or Terbang Lalat.

gosh... good thing I'm not in the branding business. This would be quite a headache.

Regardless, Lulu wishes Idris Jala, MAS and Firefly every success.... and no fire while flying.


Anonymous said...

Firefly or LalatApi-- just hope it won't turn out to be like Indonesia's budget airline AdamAir with its countless crashes and midair explosions. However, a much nicer name would be Snoring Airlines, in tribute to our effable sleeping premier who "loves jeans, denim and must be seasoned and worn"

kittykat46 said...

Hehehe...Asmara Air implied they were encouraging naughty-naughty activities, either on the ground or in the air (Fokker F50 is too small for such things, lah).
I like the idea for Firefly, but it remains to be seen whether MAS can manage a low cost airline. Air Asia has a totally different game plan.

Rauff said...

Kunang-kunang that another translation for firefly. Hahahah~!

Yzerfontein said...

Naming is often a difficult process (ask any mother). According to a Malaysia Airlines employee, Firefly Airlines was so named as it is ”evocative, emotive and unique”. Hopefully they'll help to bring flight prices down.

rustum ali said...

even the website is

and NOT

zewt said...

heard that they are using rejected planes... reported in shadelica i think. hmmmm...

Fin Freedom Achiever said...

Don’t try your luck to take firefly airline if you have very tight timeline.

From my experience, Firefly airline is not so reliable. I missed the last boat to Pulau Redang when Firefly just delay the flight at the 11th hour.

No customer service or support is available in this case too…only 2 options:
(1) cancel your flight and get a refund or (2) reschedule your flight…They just ignore all the hassle, opportunity cost and inconvenience caused by the delay of the flights conveniently…

In view of this unpleasant incident to lose both monetary on additional hotel accommodation and loss of accommodation and vacation time at Pulau Redang, we have filed a complaint and request for compensation as advised by Firefly customer service personnel via email to To our surprise and disappointment, it takes 3-4 weeks for Firefly to respond and reject our claim with a simple note “Your request of compensation has been declined” and no feedback to our complaint.

Personally, I view this kind of service as irresponsible and would like to share our experience and suggest those who really stretch on their time for not trying your luck and taking the risk. It is not worth to waste both your valuable time and money this way….

Anonymous said...

Firefly, cute little small aircraft. No matter what is in it's name, as long as it is convenient, safe, and reliable, perhaps i will go for it. If i not mistaken, there is no Malay name for Firefly, but there is chinese name in " Fei Ying". ..

Anyway, haven't tried Firefly before, but i guess must be cute like the name too. In the other hand, their rival, air asia turn me down many times because of delay and refund, bad service, rather travel with more reliable airline.